A hexagram (Greek) or sexagram (Latin) is a six-pointed geometric star figure with the Schläfli symbol {6/2}, 2{3}, or {{3}}.

Since there are no true regular continuous hexagrams, the term is instead used to refer to the compound figure of two equilateral triangles shown to the right. The intersection is a regular hexagon.

The hexagram is part of an infinite series of shapes which are compounds of two n-dimensional simplices.

In three dimensions, the analogous compound is the stellated octahedron, and in four dimensions the compound of two 5-cells is obtained.

It has been historically used in religious and cultural contexts and as decorative motifs; for example by medieval Muslims, especially Hanafi and Maliki dynasties, and later in Judaism and occultism.

The symbol was used merely as a decorative motif in medieval Christian churches many centuries before its first known use in a Jewish synagogue.

It was first used as a religious symbol by Arabs in the medieval period, known as the Seal of Solomon, depicted as either a hexagram or pentagram and which was later adopted by Jewish Kabbalists.

Origins and shape

It is possible that as a simple geometric shape, like for example the triangle, circle, or square, the hexagram has been created by various peoples with no connection to one another.

The hexagram is a mandala symbol called satkona yantra or sadkona yantra found on ancient South Indian Hindu temples.

It symbolizes the nara-narayana, or perfect meditative state of balance achieved between Man and God, and if maintained, results in “moksha,” or “nirvana” (release from the bounds of the earthly world and its material trappings).

Some researchers have theorized that the hexagram represents the astrological chart at the time of David’s birth or anointment as king. The hexagram is also known as the “King’s Star” in astrological circles.

In antique papyri, pentagrams, together with stars and other signs, are frequently found on amulets bearing the Jewish names of God and used to guard against fever and other diseases.

Curiously the hexagram is not found among these signs. In the Greek Magical Papyri (Wessely, l.c. pp. 31, 112) at Paris and London, there are 22 signs side by side, and a circle with twelve signs, but neither a pentagram nor a hexagram.

Usage in Dharmic religions

Six-pointed stars have also been found in cosmological diagrams in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The reasons behind this symbol’s common appearance in Indic religions and the West are unknown.

One possibility is that they have a common origin. The other possibility is that artists and religious people from several cultures independently created the hexagram shape, which is a relatively simple geometric design.

Within Indic lore, the shape is generally understood to consist of two triangles—one pointed up and the other down—locked in a harmonious embrace.

The two components are called “Om” and the “Hrim” in Sanskrit and symbolize man’s position between earth and sky. The downward triangle symbolizes Shakti, the sacred embodiment of femininity, and the upward triangle symbolizes Shiva, or Agni Tattva, representing the focused aspects of masculinity.

The mystical union of the two triangles represents Creation, occurring through the divine union of male and female. The two locked triangles are also known as ‘Shanmukha‘—the six-faced, representing the six faces of Shiva & Shakti’s progeny Kartikeya. This symbol is also a part of several yantras and has deep significance in Hindu ritual worship and history.

In Buddhism, some old versions of the Bardo Thodol, also known as The “Tibetan Book of the Dead“, contain a hexagram with a Swastika inside.

It was made up by the publishers for this particular publication. In Tibetan, it is called the “origin of phenomenon“. It is especially connected with Vajrayogini and forms the center part of Her mandala. In reality, it is in three dimensions, not two, although it may be portrayed either way.

The Shatkona is a symbol used in Hindu yantra that represents the union of both the male and feminine form. More specifically it is supposed to represent Purusha (the supreme being), and Prakriti (mother nature, or causal matter). Often this is represented as Shiva-Shakti. The Shatkona is a hexagram and looks exactly like the Star of David.

Anahata: The Heart Chakra

Anahata (also known as Anahata-puri, or Padma-Sundara) is symbolized by a lotus flower with twelve petals.

Anahata is related to the colors green or pink. Key issues involving Anahata involve complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection, and well-being.

Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.

In the endocrine system, Anahata is associated with the thymus gland, located in the chest. This gland produces T-cells, that combat disease, and bring equilibrium to the body.

The functioning of the thymus is greatest before puberty and is impaired by the appearance of sex hormones in the bloodstream from puberty onwards.

Usage by Jews

The Star of David in the oldest surviving complete copy of the Masoretic text, the Leningrad Codex, dated 1008.

The Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Judaism and Jewish identity and is also known colloquially as the Jewish Star or “Star of David.

Its usage as a sign of Jewish identity began in the Middle Ages, though its religious usage began earlier, with the current earliest archeological evidence being a stone bearing the shield from the arch of a 3–4th-century synagogue in the Galilee.

Which means the part in the introduction where it says it was used by Muslims then later by Judaism is false, the Jews used it before Islam existed. A more enduring symbol of Judaism, the menorah, has been in use since about 1300 BC according to the Torah Exodus 25:31-40.

Usage by Christians

The hexagram may be found in some Churches and stained-glass windows. In Christianity, it is sometimes called the star of creation.

A very early example, noted by Nikolaus Pevsner, can be found in Winchester Cathedral, England in one of the canopies of the choir stalls, circa 1308.

In Balkan countries, hexagrams can be found more often in Orthodox Christian churches than in Roman Catholic churches.

Rastafari

A black star of David is used to identify the black population, in Africa or otherwise, with one of the Tribes of Israel.

Due to the culture of Rastafari emerging out of the Judeo-Christian Ethiopian history, dating back to Solomonic dynastic rule, the star of David, or the Seal of Solomon is a prevalent symbol amongst its adherents.

Rastafari has adherents from every race across the globe, rooted in Christian doctrine, it is not an African or bloodline doctrine.

Usage by Muslims

The symbol is known in Arabic as Khātem Sulaymān (Seal of Solomon) or Najmat Dāwūd (Star of David). The “Seal of Solomon” may also be represented by a five-pointed star or pentagram.

In the Qur’an, it is written that David and King Solomon (Arabic, Suliman or Sulayman) were prophets and kings, and are figures revered by Muslims.

The Medieval pre-Ottoman Hanafi Anatolian beyliks of the Karamanids and Jandarids used the star on their flag. The symbol also used on Hayreddin Barbarossa flag. Today the six-pointed star can be found in mosques and on other Arabic and Islamic artifacts.

Professor Gershom Scholem theorizes that the “Star of David” originates in the writings of Aristotle, who used triangles in different positions to indicate the different basic elements.

The superposed triangles thus represented combinations of those elements. From Aristotle’s writings, those symbols made their ways into early, pre-Muslim Arab literature.

Usage in Theosophy

The Star of David is used in the seal and the emblem of the Theosophical Society (founded in 1875). Although it is more pronounced, it is used along with other religious symbols.

These include the Swastika, the Ankh, the Aum, and the Ouroboros. The star of David is also known as the Seal of Solomon that was its original name until around 50 years ago.

Usage in occultism

The hexagram, like the pentagram, was and is used in practices of the occult and ceremonial magic and is attributed to the 7 “old” planets outlined in astrology.

The six-pointed star is commonly used both as a talisman and for conjuring spirits and spiritual forces in diverse forms of occult magic.

In the book The History and Practice of Magic, Vol. 2, the six-pointed star is called the talisman of Saturn and it is also referred to as the Seal of Solomon. Details are given in this book on how to make these symbols and the materials to use.

Traditionally, the Hexagram can be seen as the combination of the four elements. Fire is symbolized as an upwards pointing triangle, while Air (it’s elemental opposite) is also an upwards pointing triangle, but with a horizontal line through its center.

Water is symbolized as a downwards pointing triangle, while Earth (it’s elemental opposite) is also a downwards pointing triangle, but with a horizontal line through its center. When you combine the symbols of Fire and Water, a hexagram (six-pointed star) is created.

The same follows for when you combine the symbols of Air and Earth. When you combine both hexagrams, you get the double-hexagram. Thus, a combination of the elements is created.

In Rosicrucian and Hermetic Magic, the seven Traditional Planets correspond with the angles and the center of the Hexagram as follows, in the same patterns as they appear on the Sephiroth and on the Tree of Life.

Saturn, although formally attributed to the Sephira of Binah, within this framework nonetheless occupies the position of Daath.

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*This article was originally published at en.wikipedia.org.